View From the Top

May 10, 2006

Today we hiked Bishop Peak, the tallest peak of the Nine Morros (volcanoes) along the central coast. At 1,559 ft above sea level, it’s one of the lowest mountains I’ve hiked, but the view from the top was still just as spectacular. Aside from the heat, it was a pleasant hike. Kevin found it slightly more challenging, as he is not a seasoned hiker (yet!), but he said he thoroughly enjoyed it, as well.

Bishop Peak

We had a surprise towards the beginning of our hike: a tabby cat trotted out of the bushes near the entrance trail marker and plops himself directly in front of me. Of course, I couldn’t resist picking him up to say hi. He began purring immediately. I noticed he was wearing a collar, so I double-checked the address to make sure he was not far from home. Thankfully, he lived just a few houses down the road. The tag also contained his name: George. Too cute.

After a few minutes of playing with him, we start up Bishop Peak trail. There’s only one problem; George was following me! I worried that a hawk or some other wild animal might notice him, so, every few steps, I tried to make him stay or go back down the trail (ever try herding cats?). This dance of him following me a few steps and me turning around to bring him back down goes on for several minutes and by that time, Kevin is getting impatient.

As we walk further up the trail, I notice a group of students from Cal Poly are being lectured to about some plant or another, then I notice that one of the students has a dog. Thankfully, George notices the dog just after we turn the bend and calmly walks into the tall grass by the side of the road. It wasn’t the best solution, but it made him stay put.

With George safely staying put, we finally start our hike and after several hours we make it to the top of Bishop Peak. Along the way, we ate our lunch from Kona’s Deli and relaxed for a bit.

Bishop Peak: The top

By the time we are back at the trail entrance, it’s late afternoon. I was secretly hoping George would still be there and, just my luck, he was. I played a little more with George and because I worry about outdoor cats, I call the number. His person picks up and I tell her that I have her cat. The first thing she asks me is, “How far up is he this time”? Whaaaa?

Apparently, George has made it to the peak. Several times. I’m dumbfounded and amazed, and as I’m hanging up the phone, I hear his person calling him from a few houses down the road. Just before he trots off, I scoop him up and say goodbye. I hope we see George again when we return next year.

Bishop Peak: George and I

This wasn’t the first time I’ve encountered a cat while out and about. In fact, it’s happened often enough that I created a photo album to keep track of all of the cats I meet along the way. Also, all the photos I took will be included in a Bishop Peak album. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot, as my camera battery was critically low and I saved it to take photos at the peak.

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